Class Report

Become a #FoodPorn Star

Teacher: Kim Bryden, left
Location: Union Market
Date: July 7, 2015

See more photos of this class on Flickr!

Creamy. Delightful. Sweet. Spicy. Flavorful. No matter your taste preference, you know what the right kind of food does to you. Now if only you could capture that feeling on your camera, showcase it on social media, and make your friends drool over what you’re about to dive into teeth-first. Food porn is what they call this, and Kim Bryden, founder of Cure[ate], taught students all her tricks.

Aside from being a food porn star herself (more on that later), Kim works “with food and beverage businesses on their growth strategies and with brands looking to connect with their target audience through local food & drink.” Suffice it to say, she knows a little bit about making her audience drool … uh, well, with the right photo composition, lighting, photography apps, and video techniques.  

When it comes to nailing the composition of a food shot, the photographer should be prepared to “get all up in it!” Don’t be afraid to move/contort your body and get sensual with the dish. Consider how the food is styled, capture a pop of color by taking advantage of the white space surrounding it, and get ready to tell a story. Kim also suggests considering the various food shapes in front of you. For example, a whole pizza in its circular shape could use a great overhead shot to take in all of its gooey, cheesy — and maybe colorful — essence. But a single slice might require a different perspective.  

And know how to work that camera in the dark! (We’re still talking about food here, right?!) For dark environments, Kim taught the class how to focus on food items with a cellphone camera for a sharp shot, as well as how to adjust the camera’s exposure settings. Using an unflattering flash? Diffuse it with a napkin, preferably black.

Kim also talked about the many different ways in which video can be used: GIFs, time-lapse, stop motion. So many options and thankfully so much food with which to use them!

Whatever the food item you capture, make sure to tell an authentic, captivating, and enticing story — and make ‘em drool.

Extra: Check out Kim’s food porn debut here, led by the one and only José Andrés.

Samantha L. Justice splits much of her time between her amazing day job as an HR consultant for nonprofits and shooting with her favorite Canon camera in tow. She enjoys the cultural melting pot that is D.C., traveling to new destinations, and spending time with nearby friends and family.